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The project aims to make a major contribution to the knowledge and understanding of pre-modern rural societies in the Islamic world. Through a translation and study of the Villages of the Fayyum – a unique and unparalleled tax register from a 13th century Egyptian province – it addresses fundamental questions for the history of the medieval Middle East, such as the Islamization of rural communities, their tribal and sedentary identity, and their relations with land holders and with state officials.

The project offers the first translation of this text into a European language, as well as a micro-study of the Fayyum villages in their concrete historical context. By combining qualitative and quantitative research methods, and by employing advance geographical software (GIS), the study sheds light on the social, economic and demographic realities of mid-13th century Fayyum.

The database brings together the fiscal, demographic and geographic information contained in the Village of the Fayyum. The database provides researchers with a firsthand research tool, which facilitates the breaking of new grounds in the social and economic history of the Islamic world.